Weekend open thread: Post-election fallout

What’s on your mind, Bleeding Heartland readers?

The Iowa House will probably have a 60-40 Republican majority unless provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots change the unofficial results reported so far. The two races most likely to flip are House district 18, where Democratic incumbent Andrew Wenthe leads by 28 votes, and House district 48, where Democratic incumbent Donovan Olson trails by 26 votes.

A 26-24 Democratic majority appears to be the most likely outcome in the Iowa Senate. Democrat Tod Bowman has expanded his lead to 73 votes in the open Senate district 13. Republican Mark Chelgren has a 13-vote lead over incumbent Keith Kreiman in Senate district 47. If absentee and provisional ballots allow Kreiman to overcome that deficit, the Democrats would have a 27-23 majority in the upper chamber.

Incoming Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen is acting like he believes his own propaganda about the state’s dire financial condition. This week he asked Governor Chet Culver to tell his department directors “to freeze all discretionary spending.” Paulsen claimed that step is needed “to align ongoing expenditures with ongoing revenue,” even though revenues have been coming in ahead of projections since fiscal year 2011 began. Culver’s budget director in effect told Paulsen he was full of it. Excerpt:

As you know, the current FY 2011 General Fund budget is balanced and, as Governor Culver’s Administration announced last week, the projected ending balance or surplus will be higher than originally projected. Since the end of the 2011 legislative session, we have continued to replenish the State’s Reserve Funds because we closed the books on the FY 2010 General Fund budget with a $335.6 million ending balance, also higher than originally projected. […]

As you know, discretionary spending is a very small part of the General Fund budget, and the aforementioned controls apply to discretionary spending. Governor Culver does not have the authority to freeze appropriations for programs unless there is a deficit, and there is no deficit projected for FY 2011.

Newly re-elected Representative Tom Latham showed how gullible and uninformed he is on Friday by repeating the latest foam-at-the-mouth talking point about President Obama. Naturally, there’s no truth to the rumor that the president’s visit to India is costing $200 million a day. The real cost is probably about 100 times lower than the lie right-wing media have been spreading. Latham is old enough to know better, as my father would say.

It’s never too early to start the next election season in Iowa. Some Republican county party chairs talked with Bret Hayworth about their favorite presidential prospects.

The Des Moines Register reported a strange story: Polk County prosecutors are trying to permanently ban two anti-war protesters from the Federal Building in Des Moines. They are Christine Gaunt and Elton Davis (a member of the Bleeding Heartland community), who are to be sentenced on November 12 for trespassing at that building in August. I have never heard of a citizen being permanently banned from a federal building and wonder if there is any precedent for the judge to grant that request.

This is an open thread.

NOVEMBER 11 UPDATE: In the comments, Elton Davis says Polk County Attorney John Sarcone has withdrawn the unusual sentencing request, since apparently neither Senator Chuck Grassley nor Senator Tom Harkin supported it.

  • Look inside

    I think we need to a long look inside the Party to see what we could have done better. One thing that would help is not trying to reinvent the wheel every 2 years. We should not totally dismantle our entire campaign and then spend 6 months trying to convince people to vote. We should spend the time in between elections maintaining and building our volunteer base and strengthening the county party committees. We should also spend the time between elections educating voters on issue in an effort to make the electorate more progressive.  

    • I also think we shouldn't squander opportunities

      for fear of losing the next election. That was basically the whole reason more action wasn’t taken to restrict pollution from CAFOs. But guess what? Most of the rural Democrats lost anyway.

      The Democratic-controlled legislature in 1964 and 1965 passed laws that changed this state forever (creating the community college system, for instance). They lost their majority quickly but left a mark on the state. Other than I-JOBS, the smoking ban and raising the minimum wage, I am not sure what the outgoing legislature accomplished that the next one won’t reverse. Republicans will probably roll back the children’s health care and preschool programs.

  • don't count on Kreiman winning.

    So far the absentee ballots that have been received are equal Democrat / Republican.  Kinda funny how the county auditor tried to open the ballots early before canvasing.  She had to be sued to get her to stop.  Also kinda funny that several democrats brought their ballots in to be counted on Wednesday.  

    This will go to recount.  It remains to be seen who wins.

    • I'm not counting on it

      which is why I wrote that it looks like a 26-24 split in the Senate. With a margin that small, though, you can’t rule out a switch. Sometimes recounts turn up votes the machines didn’t read accurately.

  • Ok, ok, I'll comment already.

    First, apologies to Roxanne, I tried to give you an “October Surprise” by challenging Grassley on supporting the war but being unwilling to tax the wealthy to actually fund it, but the docket was full until November Fourth.  Rats.

    In this instance, it is a case of the Federal Protective Service Police attempting to write a law instead of enforcing the law.  And trust me, if Commander Goldberg of the Homeland Security FPS ever does decide to run for congress, God forbid, I will shave, get a haircut, set aside my devout anarchist principles and run against his ass.

    Commander Goldberg of the Department of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service has stated his desire in the past to ban us, and especially Chris from the Des Moines Federal Building where the Senator’s offices are located.

    After our conviction last week, the Assistant County Attorney prosecuting our case stated that she wished to explore banning us from entering the Des Moines Federal Building, in the Same manner they ban shoplifters from department stores or Walmart or such.

    Sentencing was deferred until next Friday.

    Here is my official statement on the subject;

    Within a couple of weeks following Chris’ and my arrest while asking Senator Chuck Grassley to stop funding for U.S. occupations and war, he did exactly that. Chuck supported a GOP filibuster opposing the Defense Authorization Act of 2011. Chuck states that this was related to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, but who knows what resides in a person’s heart?

    As for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” I have some serious concerns myself. I find this policy to be very discriminatory.

    Asking that the LGBT community be the only group of persons excluded from military service runs contrary to my core beliefs. As an individual committed to the advocacy of non-violent resolution of conflict, I feel that pretty much everybody should be excluded from military service.

    I would like to thank Senator Chuck Grassley for his courage and leadership in seeking to prevent passage of the Defense Authorization Act of 2011. If I could for a second flatter myself to think that our puny efforts in any way helped persuade Chuck to take this heroic stance, I would willingly accept any consequence for our actions the court may deem appropriate.

    All are welcome to come to our sentencing this coming Friday at 1:30 pm, at the Polk County courthouse, room 210.  it should be fairly brief, and quite a show. Christine has put a great deal of effort into this ongoing lobbying effort with Senators Grassley and Harkin, and could really use some support.  

    • Quick update...

      After Sally Frank spoke to the legal council of the U.S. Senate it became apparent that neither Senator Grassley, nor Senator Harkin supported banning us from the Des Moines Federal Building, Polk County AttorneyJohn Sarcone announced that the request for a ban from the Federal Bldg would be withdrawn.

      Also, our sentencing date has been changed from this Friday to next Wednesday at 2:30.


  • Donovan

    I felt sorry to see Donovan lose.  I remember the first campaign I chaired.  We knocked out a county supervisor by 24 votes.  We were joyous over a narrow win.  A narrow loss must hurt even more.  Best wishes to Donovan.

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